Sunday, August 2, 2009

King James Onlyism Interview (Lower criticism and the Vulgate, part 3)

This is a continuation of the King James Only series. You can read Part1 Part2 and the conclusion at these links.

Questions will be in purple answers in black. Headings in red, explanatory comments by CD-HOST in green

Textual Criticism

The usual tap dance performed by those who deny any Bible or any text in any language is now the inerrant, complete and infallible words of God is typified by the following quote: "Inerrancy applies to the autographa, not to copies or translations of Scripture. This qualification is made because we realize that errors have crept into the text during the transmission process. It is not an appeal to a “Bible which no one has ever seen or can see.” Such a charge fails to take into account the nature of textual criticism and the very high degree of certainty we possess concerning the original text of Scripture."

Well, this may sound very pious and good, but the undeniable fact is that this Christian scholar is talking about "a Bible no one has seen or can see".
As for this gentleman's "nature of textual criticism" is concerned, this so called "science" is a giant fraud and a pathetic joke played on the unsuspecting saints who might think these men actually know what they are doing. I have posted a series on the "science of textual criticism" that reveals the true nature of this hocus-pocus methodology of determining what God really said. You can see all parts of this study, here.

This could open up a major side issue, the nature and correctness of textual criticism. I'm not sure if I know enough about where you are coming from to have this discussion. But this might be worth hitting on later.

I think the whole "science" of textual criticism is a farce and leads to further unbelief.

Do you see those two as connected. Is it theoretically possible it could be true and lead to further unbelief? Are those independent or dependent claims?

I don't understand your question here. By the very fickle nature of textual criticism, the only logical conclusion to reach is that there is no fixed and infallible Bible text. This necessarily leads to the conclusion that there is no infallible Bible.

Reality and maturity require that textual criticism face unsettling facts, chief among them that the term 'original' has exploded into a complex and highly unmanageable multivalent entity.

Lets work through this for a moment because I think it is an interesting point of contact. I'm of the school that believes for many of the books there are no originals in the sense evangelicals mean them. What's your response to Christians who understand the implications of the lower (and possibly higher) criticism and still embrace it?

The point would be that they do not believe in a complete and infallible Bible in any language. This is in direct and sharp contrast to the King James Bible believer.

In terms of my beliefs I see progress. I believe the NRSV is better than the RSV is better than the ASV is better than the RV is better than the KJV is better than the Bishops Bible is better than the Great Bible. I'm looking forward to Edito Critica Major (essentially the NA28). I'm thrilled about the copitic Hebrews, Colossians, and 1 Thessalonians we found with the gospel of Judas collection. I see a thrilling process where every Christian is invited a world of mystery through the ancient texts. Answers slowly revealing themselves and opening the door to new questions. I don't disagree with you about what's happening but where you are seeing something bad I'm seeing something delightful and wonderful. In this generation for the first time in 1800 years or so we can reconstruct an entire quasi-Christian sect's literary path.

There is no question there but if you would like to respond you can.

Sure, we definitely see this issue in very different ways. That is because I believe that God has in fact already given us His perfect "book of the LORD" and you see it as an ongoing process that will never be finished in this world.

I see it as; "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein." Jeremiah 6:16

I see your side as a fulfillment of the prophesy "This know that in the last days perilous times shall come...Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." 2 Timothy 3

I certainly have noticed the change in my lifetime. Christian are getting less and less comfortable saying "the bible says X" or even more strongly "God says X". It is changing to "my bible says X", which is far weaker.

Yes, I agree with you on this.

The explosion of modern versions has encouraged the student to pick and choose his own preferred readings and has created a tendency to treat every Bible lightly and to look upon none as the final words of God.

Let me stop here for a second. I participate in bible translations quite frequently. I have generally found that the people who engage in translation debate and own 20 different bible translations treat the bible quite seriously. I don't believe they treat it lightly. Nor do I find they choose their preferred readings. Let me give you a personal example. I really wanted malaki arsenokoiti (1 Cor 6:9, what the KJV translates as effeminate / abusers of themselves with mankind) to be slave traders or pimps and male prostitutes. You can make a case based on the financial ties to the word, and the fact that modern homosexuality isn't financial, but in the end the counter case for the traditional translation was stronger. There is absolutely no question in my mind which is preferred reading, and I'm greatly pained that I can't make the case that homosexuals is a mistranslation. I don't believe I'm treating it lightly at all. What exactly do you mean by this?

I disagree. I have seen many people try to push through a point of doctrine or teaching, and when a certain bible version doesn't match want they want to teach, then they go to one that does support it. Or every man does that which is right in his own eyes and makes up his own translation because of his personal belief system, much like you are trying to do with 1 Cor. 6:9. You are not treating "The Bible" seriously, but you own opinions. Quite a difference.

I'd like to walk through a detailed timeline for a book of the bible in your theory. I'll take 1John if you don't care, just to pick one that is likely not to complex. All questions assuming 1John
Who wrote it and when?

The apostle John wrote it. Probably around 90-95 A.D.

Did it go through a redaction process? Is the 1John we have in the TR today the 1John as (John I'm assuming that is your author) wrote it? If it went through a redaction process can you describe that? (The question for is referring to a middle clause in 1John 5:7-8 the Comma Johanneum, a part of the verse not found in any ancient manuscript but that is found in the later manuscripts and the KJV). So we must have a situation where between the original 1John and Papyrus 9 a hundred years later corruption slipped in. How did that happen? Then what happens after that and so on? I'm looking for details in your theory.

You will not get any details that will satisfy your point of view. You can argue textual criticism all day long, and you will still end up with no complete and infallible Bible. That is your starting point and that is where you will end up. I address the issue of 1 John 5:7 here. Most people are unaware of all the early witnesses and of all the Bible scholars througout time who have confidently held 1 John 5:7 as being inspired Scripture.

Thank you for the evidence for 1John 5:7. But that still doesn't answer the question of how we ended up with so many manuscripts without it. How did this happen?

That was addressed in the article under reasons why it may have been omitted.

Mr. Nolan gives two reasons why I John 5:7 is seemingly scanty in reference to quotations from the church fathers:
One - The passage in I John 5:7 is among those like I Timothy 3:16 and Acts 20:28 that have all been tampered with in the manuscript tradition, all three having to do with the deity of Christ as "God."
Two - That the major reason for NOT QUOTING I John 5:7 was based on its wording, chiefly, purporting Jesus Christ as the "WORD" instead of the "SON." Hence, with the Sabellian heresy being debated that Jesus Christ is the Father with no distinction, I John 5:7 would further propagate that notion. Therefore it wasn't quoted.
Jesse Boyd also suggests the following reasons why the passage may have "dropped out" of 1 John 5:7. He says: "The heresy of Gnosticism is also of notable importance with regard to the historical context surrounding the Johannine Comma. This "unethical intellectualism" had begun to make inroads among churches in John's day; its influence would continue to grow up until the second century when it gave pure Christianity a giant struggle. The seeds of the Gnostic heresy seem to be before John's mind in his first epistle; the Johannine Comma would have constituted an integral component of the case the Apostle made against the false teachings of the Gnostics, especially with regard to the nature of Christ. The Gnostics would have completely disregarded the truth promulgated in the Johannine Comma. In fact, they may have excised it from the text in the same way that Marcion took a butcher knife to the New Testament in the second century. Also, the Arian heresy, which taught that Jesus was not God but a created being, grew out of Gnosticism. In fact, it was widespread in the Church during the third and fourth centuries. Not long after the Council of Nicea (A.D. 325), an ecumenical council that denounced Arianism, "the whole world woke from a deep slumber and discovered that it had become Arian." Perhaps the prevalent influences of these heresies were responsible for the text falling out of many manuscripts and versions of the New Testament. This hypothesis is at least as plausible as competing theories which suppose that someone added the verses to combat heretical teaching."


I don't see how this presentation regarding the KJV is consistent with your belief that the LXX or the Vulgate are not the words of God. The vast majority of Christians through the vast majority of Christian history considered the Vulgate to be the bible. It really wasn't until Erasmus that Western Christians even questioned this. Even today in 2009 most translations maintain "continuity with the Christian tradition" which is to say they translate consistently with the Vulgate. This is a key point of the theory that is complex.... because the claim for the KJV is that "God's word" is the text in major usage but the translation with the greatest degree of usage is the Vulgate. How would you respond?

Neither the Vulgate nor the so called LXX were the complete and 100% true Bible. There can be much truth found in any version, but it is always mixed with lies, poor translations and omissions or additions.

How do you know without falling back on the KJV?

Because I and thousands of other Bible believers have an absolute Standard. Your side does not. So you can never know and even admit it. You may think we KJB believers are wrong, and that is fine. But the simple reason why we know or at least believe that we know is because we have The Standard by which all others are to be measured and weighed in the balance.

God has promised to preserve His wordS IN A BOOK here on this earth till heaven and earth pass away. He either did this and we can know where they are found today, or He lied and He lost some of them, and we can never be sure if what we are reading are the true words of God or not.

I don't see how this squares with your belief that the LXX or the Vulgate are not the words of God. The vast majority of Christians through the vast majority of Christian history considered the Vulgate to be the bible. It really wasn't until Erasmus that Western Christians even questioned this. Even today in 2009 most translations maintain "continuity with the Christian tradition" which is to say they translate consistently with the Vulgate. This is a key point of the theory that is complex.... because the claim for the KJV is that "God's word" is the text in major usage but the translation with the greatest degree of usage is the Vulgate. How would you respond?

Neither the Vulgate nor the so called LXX were the complete and 100% true Bible. There can be much truth found in any version, but it is always mixed with lies, poor translations and omissions or additions.
The following passage involves some post Trent history of the Vulgate. Since most Protestants are unfamiliar with the history of the Vulgate a short paragraph of background is in order.
The Jerome Vulgate was written 390-405
During the dark ages various minor revisions flourished particularly taking verses from the Old Latin (Vetus Latina) back into the Vulgate. There were also some attempts at restoration leading to several dozens versions with minor differences.
After Trent Pope Sixtus (1585-90) created a Vulgate as the "official version" called the Sistine Vulgate, it was widely rejected. His successor Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605) created a minor revision addressing the complaints people had with the Sistine Vulgate and created the Clementine Vulgate which was universally accepted Vulgate from 1598-1979.

One common complaint I hear all the time and mentioned by Mr. Norris in his book is that we who believe there is only one Bible that is the pure, complete, and infallible word of God is that this is similar to the Catholic view concerning the Latin Vulgate.
Allow me to briefly address this accusation. The Council of Trent met from 1545 to 1563 in an effort to rally the forces of the Catholic church to combat what they considered the heresies of the Reformation and their Bibles.

The Catholic church decided that the Latin Vulgate should be their official bible and none other allowed. Problem was, even when they made this decree, there was no settled text or single Latin Vulgate considered authoritative. Their own language reveals this. Here is a quote taken from the Council of Trent's own decree issued in 1556 "Moreover, the same sacred and holy Synod,--considering that no small utility may accrue to the Church of God, IF IT BE MADE KNOWN WHICH OUT OF ALL THE LATIN EDITIONS, NOW IN CIRCULATION, of the sacred books, IS TO BE HELD AS AUTHENTIC,--ordains and declares, that the said old and vulgate edition, which, by the lengthened usage of so many years, has been approved of in the Church, be, in public lectures, disputations, sermons and expositions, held as authentic; and that no one is to dare, or presume to reject it under any pretext whatever. Furthermore, in order to restrain petulant spirits, It decrees, that no one, relying on his own skill, shall,--in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, --wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother Church,--whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures,--hath held and doth hold." (end of quote)

A papal commission worked for many years after the Council of Trent, but was not able to produce an authentic edition. Pope Sixtus took matters into his own hands and produced his own revision, which appeared in May 1590. The Sixtus Latin Vulgate was full of errors, "some two thousand of them introduced by the Pope himself" (Janus, The Pope and the Council, Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1870). In September 1590 the College of Cardinals stopped all sales and bought up and destroyed as many copies as possible. Another edition finally appeared in 1592, which became the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church (H. Wheeler Robinson, Ancient and English Versions of the Bible, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1940, p. 120).

There are several fundamental differences and similarities to what the Catholic church tried to do with the Latin Vulgate, and the Bible version issue as it stands today.

The Differences:

First - the Catholic church wanted to place the words of God in a DEAD LANGUAGE which most people could not read and they forbad translations into other languages to be made. Thus they were keeping the words of God out of the hands of the common people and making them dependent on a special class of priests to interpret it for them.

Second - This official bible had no settlted text at the time the decrees were made. There were several competing Latin Vulgate bibles circulating at the time and one was not settled upon till 36 years later.

Third - This official bible was produced by an apostate church which denied salvation by faith alone in the finished work of Christ; denied salvation outside of this Catholic church system, and established a special group of priests who alone could interpret the Scriptures for us.

The King James Bible believer does not deny salvation to anyone who happens to read any Bible version other than the KJB. We approve of the translation of Scripture into other languages, desiring only that they attempt to follow the same underlying Hebrew and Greek texts, and the meaning as found in the King James Bible, as best as possible and not omit some 3000 to 4000 words, including 17 to 24 whole verses, from the New Testament as do versions such as the RSV, NASB, NIV, ESV. All these modern versions just mentioned also depart frequently from the Hebrew texts that underlie our King James Bible.

The Similarities:

First - the modern versionist has no settled text, just as the Council of Trent did not when they made their decree. The Greek text that underlies the modern versions such as the NIV, NASB, ESV, ISV, Holman Standard, etc. is in a continual state of flux and constant change. Every new version changes the actual TEXT, as well as the meanings of other verses, from the previous versions.

Second - The modern versionist would likewise place the Final Authority in the hands of a special group of religious leaders - the scholars. They affirm that no translation is the inspired words of God and that we must "go to the original Hebrew and Greek texts" (which don't even exist). Thus they remove the common people from the words of God by appealing to DEAD LANGUAGES as their final authority.

However, it is painfully obvious that these same scholars cannot agree among themselves WHICH Hebrew and WHICH Greek texts are authentic. This is similar to the case of the conflicting Latin Vulgate versions that were circulating at the time of the decree of the Council of Trent in 1556.

Third - The everchanging Greek text now used to translate most modern versions is compiled by men who themselves are apostates who believe no Bible is inspired and much of what we do have is "ancient folktale, popular legend, and traditions penned by unknown authors". (See Bruce Metzger, Cardinal Carlo Martini, and the other liberal editors of the UBS Greek text.)

Satan counterfeits every spiritual truth. If there really is One true Holy Bible, then the devil will say there is only one true bible and it is the Catholic bible. Guess which bibles today generally OMIT ALL THE SAME VERSES from the New Testament as do modern Catholic bible versions. You got it.

The new versions like the NIV, NASB, ESV, and Holman Standard all reject the Traditional Greek Text, and instead rely primarily on two very corrupt Greek manuscripts called Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. These so called "oldest and best" manuscripts also form the basis of all Catholic versions as well as the Jehovah Witness version.

There is no question the JW were one of the earliest major groups to adopt the Westcott-Hort. The 19th century Arianist movement were big fans of Westcott-Hort. But what about Catholic? The Nova Vulgata (new Vulgate 1969+) which is the official Catholic Bible is based on texts older than the Clementine Vulgate but doesn't rely on the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus but mainly fragmentary latin manuscripts and quotes scattered throughout writings of the 5th and 6th centuries. Do you mean the NJB and the NAB which are based on the NA27 Greek just like the majority of Protestant bibles.

I have four modern day Catholic bibles, 3 in English and one in Spanish. The NAB St. Joseph, the Jerusalem bible, and the New Jerusalem. In Spanish I have the 1983 Versión Popular - all are primarily WH texts. The older Douay was actually much better since it did not always follow Vaticanus/Sinaiticus. Anything based on the Nestle Aland critical texts is wrong and a fake bible.

JB and NJB -- Have an Impimatur, which means they are free from major doctrinal error. Popular translations with Catholics
NAB -- translated by the CCD, most commonly used in Catholic churches
Nova Vulgata -- Published by the Holy See. This is the "official bible". And it is not based on the NA27.

The Nova Vulgata omits Matthew 6:13 For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen" just like the NA27, as well as all of Matthew 17:21; 18:11 and 23:14, just like the NA 27 and the English versions based on it. Coincidence? nI address this issue here:

Prior to 1611 " good educated guess for the New Testament words would be that God preserved them in the Old Latin Bibles, and then in the Waldensian latinized Bibles till the time of the Reformation.

This is interesting. I know you are guessing and I want to get specific. If ultimately it ends here then OK but this I would love to vet.

Yes, that is an educated guess, the Old Latin. However as I go on to say, if push comes to shove, then I go with there was no perfect Bible anywhere until God brought forth the KJB.

Vetus Latina (old Latin) there are multiple versions of the various books. There isn't a "Vetus Latina bible" a modern equivalent would be something like "translations by evangelical Americans". So if I'm a Christian in 220 and I'm looking for God's real version of Luke (lots of different Latin versions) what am I going to do?

As for the Waldensian. Are you advocating something like Christian's view?

Basically another rabbit trail, but I understand why you ask the question. It's because of your naturalistic outlook on the bible. Some date the Waldensians back to 120 AD and the had a lot of things right. The KJB translators consulted several Waldensian influenced bibles.

What is the status of the Latin Vulgate?

There are several Vulgates plus the Old Latin witnesses, which often differ among themselves. In their totality they contain much of God’s words but are not the complete and inspired words of God.

OK if their status differs, lets break them down status wise.
Nova Vulgata, Stuttgart, Clementine, Sistine, Amiatinus (Pope's personal vulgate), etc... How are they different and why?

Pointless rabbit trail. They do differ textually from one another. That is obvious. They are not the true bible.

What is the status of the LXX?

No such thing ever existed as an authoritative, Pre-Christian LXX that was used or quoted by any apostle nor the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a very complicated subject and I have written on it pretty extensively. I believe the KJB translators were wrong in their assessment of the so called Greek Septuagint. The real truth is that many N.T. sayings, phrases or whole verses were placed in the various LXX versions AFTER the N.T. was complete. Agreeing with this idea are people like Jerome, John Gill, and John Owen.

You can begin the study of the other side of the story here:


Timothy said...

How can anyone say: "However as I go on to say, if push comes to shove, then I go with there was no perfect Bible anywhere until God brought forth the KJB."

If God loved so loved the world, then how could he allow His people to be without a proper edition of his Word. This seems to clearly contradict Jesus' promise of Mt. 28:20.

Also, it is good to know that I have been reading "Satan's Bible" all my life! ;)

CD-Host said...

Hi Timothy --

Welcome to the blog! Since I'm not sure where Catholics stand on the whole KJVonly issue (other than they have their own sort similar group with the Douay-Rheims). And if you don't mind me asking

I notice the links to the
. I've been thinking about picking up the The Navarre Bible - New Testament Expanded Edition

What are the differences?

Timothy said...


No problem, thanks for asking.

The CCSS is created by American Catholic Biblical scholars and uses the NAB as its base text. It is a mix of both scholarly/pastoral commentary. So far, only 2 volumes have been completed.

The Navarre has been developed by Spanish scripture scholars associated with Opus Dei. The translation used in the RSV-CE and some editions come with the Novo Vulgata at the bottom. The commentary relies more on sources like the Church fathers, Popes, Church councils, Saints, and the writings of St. Jose Marie Escriva (founder of Opus Dei). At this point, the entire Bible commentary has been made available for English speakers. There are single editions available for the NT books, as well as larger volumes in both the NT and OT.

Will Kinney said...

Timothy posts: "How can anyone say: "However as I go on to say, if push comes to shove, then I go with there was no perfect Bible anywhere until God brought forth the KJB."

If God loved so loved the world, then how could he allow His people to be without a proper edition of his Word. This seems to clearly contradict Jesus' promise of Mt. 28:20.

Also, it is good to know that I have been reading "Satan's Bible" all my life! ;)"

Hi Timothy. My point was and is that you do not have to have nor even believe in a perfect Bible in order to have the gospel or be saved.

The Bible says that "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Mat. 24:14.

All versions out there, even the NASB, RSV, NET, JW version, Catholic bibles etc., all of them, still have the gospel of salvation through the substitutionary death, burial and resurrection of Christ in them.

It should be obvious to anyone reading and comparing them, that not all bible versions are alike in hundreds of instances, both textually and in meaning. They cannot all equally and at the same time be the inspired and 100% true words of God.

Either one of them is and the others are not; or none of them are (unless of course you commit intellectual suicide and tell us that they all are).

You do not have to be King James Bible only in order to get saved; but you do have to be King James Bible only in order to defend and believe in an infallible Bible that you can actually hold in your hands, read and believe every word.

That is the difference.

Will Kinney

Christian Brother said...

Wow...What a Hot topic...I find it a divider of old Christian friends..
I myself am of the King James Only Club...I have many reasons.....For One I believe God placed it on my heart...I wasn't looking for it....I do think it is worth looking into....I am glad I am a King James only advocate ( but not glad to mention it to others)

I have never converted any one,, and have only left the conversations feeling discouraged....

I would say one thing, when I read my King James Bible it is not Long before I have the Fear of the Lord in seems some modern versions not so much. But it fairness I have not read to many new versions....Try it yourself and see.. The Bible says God's word is a Fire and a Hammar....

Your Christian Brother, May God Bless in Our Lord Jesus Name